BMW E30 3-Series 1984-1991 Instrument Cluster Removal

To prepare to remove the instrument cluster, I first remove:

  • The steering wheel
  • The black rectangular trim panel below the instrument cluster and above the steering wheel
  • The upper rectangular trim panel that fits into the space that is shaped like the instrument cluster

The black rectangular trim panel below the instrument cluster and above the steering wheel attaches to the car with two large nuts, one towards the left and one towards the right.  To remove them, you don’t use a tool.  They have ridges that make me conclude they were intended to be removed by hand.  Once you have these loose, you can gently pry out the trim panel.

The upper rectangular trim panel that fits into the space that is shaped like the instrument cluster is attached with two small black Philips screws at the very top of the space that is shaped like the instrument cluster, and two small black Philips screws at the bottom.

This exposes the instrument cluster.  Two small silver-colored Philips screws attach it to the top of the space that is shaped like the instrument cluster.  Two large black Philips screws attach it to the dashboard, at the bottom of the instrument cluster.

Then, you can move the instrument cluster forward and out.  Fight the temptation to tip it forward because then the plastic might be scratched by the tip of the steering column.

Several wires still attach the instrument cluster to the car. Most of these are consolidated in three large plugs: one white, one yellow, one blue.  For each plug, I use a small flat-bladed screwdriver to pry the black clip a small distance away from the instrument panel, and then I can remove the plug.

Next, there’s a wire that connects to the bottom of a green plastic structure underneath the speedometer.  Remove that.  Don’t be too worried about precisely where it came from.

Next, there are typically a few other wires too.  Make a note of where these go.  They might be for the “check engine” light and the ABS warning light.

Then, move the instrument cluster gently forward and out.  Keep in mind that the two plastic struts at the top are relatively fragile, and that they can break off easily.

 

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